For the first time in ten years Christmas will be coming to a former Ironbridge hospital, which has been transformed into luxury homes.
A festive event is being held at The Beeches on Thursday 5 December with a Christmas lights switch on, mulled wine and mince pies around the stunning 10ft Norway Spruce tree. Also, guests will have the opportunity to hang a personal message on the tree to mark their memory of The Beeches. Switching on the lights are Robyn Davies and her sister Anne Devere, who have a strong links with The Beeches as their father Tony Whitney was a doctor there for 40 years.
“Christmas was the highlight of my father’s time at The Beeches as our whole family would visit every Christmas Day morning,” said Robyn, who leads the Hadley and District Orpheus male voice choir. “All the doctors would go along with their families and the first port of call was to the nurses home for drinks with the matron. The children all had to behave – which was really hard as we were so excited. Then we went to the wards and each doctor would help carve the turkey and serve Christmas dinner to the patients. The children would join in, running around with plates serving the patients.
“There was always Christmas pudding, which was delicious. The cook, Iris Woodman, made a beautiful rice pudding which we always looked forward to. After that we would go back home and open our presents. But Christmas at The Beeches was always special, with a tree on every ward and tinsel around all the beds, along with visits from carol singers.”
Robyn’s family has a long history in Ironbridge as her grandpa Cyril moved there exactly 100 years ago to set up his practice in the town. He went on to become the main doctor for the area, followed by his son Tony who was a doctor there from 1947 to 1986. Her mother Constance and sister Anne both worked at The Beeches as ward sisters.
“I was so pleased when I found out that Shropshire Homes was going to be working on The Beeches,” said Robyn. “In Ironbridge we’ve seen their other sensitive conversions of historic buildings into homes. They are able to take an old building and transform it, while still retaining all the history. This is what The Beeches deserved, and we are glad to see it emerging it all its glory once again.”